Life in the fast lane isn’t all what it seems you know. I entered last weekend confident of a roast beef lunch and a nice bottle of St Emilion, courtesy of Royal Vacation and Thosedaysaregone. However due to the latter not even getting on the ferry from Ireland and dear old RV fancying an afternoon on the sofa watching the racing, as opposed to participating in it, the Higgs household had to deal with beans and water to satisfy their hunger. This was preceded by At It’s Own Expense getting stuck in the mud at Ludlow and Lester Kris not being able to run at Taunton due to the unexpected Storm Brendon turning the ground heavy.
If I’m really honest Saturday afternoon at Taunton in the sunshine justified what the game is all about and for once it had no financial implications to yours truly. It kicked off around 2.45 when on the large screen we all watched Vintage Clouds win the Peter Marsh chase up at Haydock. There’s nothing better than a front running grey taking control. Time for some live action next as Yala Enki under Bryony Frost took the Portman Cup, having given his all to finish third in the Welsh National last time. To cap it all, thirty five minutes later, Defi Du Seuil took on Un De Sceaux at Ascot. Racing does not get any better than two mile chasing, it’s not for the faint hearted and one error can finish your race. The Irish horse led from the tapes with Defi stalking his game tiger-like rival until making ground on the home turn to jump level two out. A duel to the line looked inevitable until the Hobbs trained star turned on the supercharger and quickened clear like some sort of equine Usain Bolt. It was an extraordinary performance from the little horse and he now heads straight to Cheltenham. Before the race connections were still undecided as to whether he would go for the two mile Queen Mother Champion Chase or the Ryanair Chase over further. Last Saturday he proved he was royalty and should be flying first class not budget !
I am going to add one to the Horse To Follow list this week and he is Ask Henry. He finished a staying on third at Doncaster and has been given an opening handicap mark of 120, looking at the form figures he returned on his Bumpers I think he is a 125/130 rated horse all day long. Support him on good ground over two and half miles plus.
STOP PRESS…It is Cheltenham Trials Day on Saturday and plenty will turn up with their eyes on the big prizes in March. The day has proved a good hunting ground for finding winners at the Festival with 26 subsequent winners in the last ten years. We will review the results and look for some pointers next week.
For our bet of the weekend we are heading to Doncaster and the Sky Bet Chase. I tipped this horse for the race last year, he was made 3/1 favourite only for him to disappoint, however, hold up tactics were deployed that day and he loves to be prominent. His last run was in the Ladbrokes Trophy in November and he has been held back for this, he has won around Doncaster and races of a 2lb lower mark than last year. Back him each way at 8/1 and let’s hope we are counting the dollars by 3.30 on Saturday afternoon.